“Doctrinal preaching” and “effective evangelism” are often assumed to be at odds. I disagree with that with every fiber of my being.
Many of my “theologically astute” friends seem to think that God measures “our success” only by doctrinal faithfulness and that they shouldn’t worry about how many people are coming to Christ. Recently, my research assistant found these quotes by one of Christian history’s MOST DOCTRINAL preachers, Charles Spurgeon.
the divine Word, for salvation is the thing we are to live for.–Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit 22.263If I never won souls, I would sigh till I did. It would break my heart over them
if I could break their hearts. Though I can understand the possibility of anearnest sower never reaping, I cannot understand the possibility of an earnest sower being content not to reap. I cannot comprehend any one of you Christian people trying to win souls and not having results, and being satisfied with our results. Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit 15.237
The Holy Spirit will move them first by first moving you. If you can rest
without their being saved, they will rest, too. But if you are filled with an
agony for them, if you cannot bear that they should be lost, you will soon find
that they are uneasy, too. I hope you will get into such a state that you will
dream about your child perishing for lack of Christ, and start up at once and
begin to cry, “O God, give me converts, or I die.” Then you will have converts.
–Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit 22.143-144
It is a very solemn delusion when minsters think they are prospering, and yet do not hear of conversions. Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit 14.378
I would be willing to die if I could be honored by the Holy Spirit to win this mass of souls to God. Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit 13.204
The saving of souls, if a man has once gained love to perish sinners and his
blessed master, will be an all-absorbing passion to him. It will so carry him
away, that he will almost forget himself in the saving of others. He will be
like the brave fireman, who cares not for the scorch or the heat, so that he
may rescue the poor creature on whom true humanity has set his heart.
–New Park Street Pulpit 5.474-475
Do you see this passion among the doctrinally deep? I am no fan of doctrinally shallow preaching because I think that it wins people only to an experience and not really to God. But where is evangelistic passion of, say, a John Knox who prayed, “God, give me Scotland OR I DIE!”